A direct link connecting three vital cities in the Greater Bay Area, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) project, with the Hong Kong Port as the hub, plays a critical role in driving economic and social integration in the region. The 55-kilometer bridge, the longest sea crossing in the world, dramatically shortened travel time between Hong Kong and the western part of the Pearl River Delta from more than 4 hours to 40 minutes.
AECOM was involved with critical components of this project: its sub-sea crossing section and the Hong Kong Port.
Overcoming engineering challenges
The sub-sea crossing section includes two artificial islands and a tunnel that measures approximately 5.66 kilometers, the longest immersed tube tunnel for road traffic in the world. Our team supported the contractor in the construction of the artificial islands and immersed tunnel section. This was among the most critical and difficult parts of the project, built under the open sea with strong currents causing major engineering challenges.
Pioneering innovations, advancing sustainability
The Hong Kong Port connects to the HZMB from a site with approximately 130 hectares of reclaimed land. The port’s Passenger Clearance Building (PCB) is iconic with its aesthetically pleasing architecture. Its long span curved roof mimics the surrounding sea and offers unobstructed view. Its skylights filter natural light to minimize power usage for the whole building. Tree-like columns support the roof and provide an airy feel inside.
Given the project’s proximity to the airport, our team had to overcome airport height restrictions and limited space onsite, together with the mandate to complete the PCB in 30 months whilst the whole Port was to be completed in about four years. The design and construction of the PCB roof were the most notable innovations to meet these challenges.
Its key features include:
- The integration of BIM and 3D scanning. In 2014, the use of digitalization in civil engineering was still in its infancy in Hong Kong. See Figure 1. By overlaying the complex roof design and as erected models, any out of tolerance areas could be readily identified and rectified.
- Pre-fabrication of a total of 81 roof segments, with all necessary fittings and building services completed offsite, to form the roof that stretches to the size of nine FIFA football pitches. The largest segment measures 61 meters x 25 meters and weighs 680 tons and remains the largest and heaviest spatial structural frame for building as of 2022.
- First ever use of installation by vertical lifting and then horizontal jacking of this scale in Hong Kong. This not only overcame the space and height limitations but also allowed parallel construction of the concrete works below to accelerate project time. On-site safety was also enhanced by the subsequent reduction in the need for working at height. See Figure 2.
“With the aging work force and scarcity of land,Mr. C K Hon, Former Permanent Secretary for Works , May 8, 2017
offsite modular fabrication is the future of the construction industry for Hong Kong.”
Since then, Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) and Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) have become important elements in Hong Kong’s construction industry.
In addition, the installation of the District Cooling System saves 3.5 million kilowatt-hour of electricity at the Port and reduces 2,500 tons of CO₂ emission. Meanwhile, treated effluent from the onsite tertiary sewage treatment plant is used for toilet flushing, saving 2700 cubic meters of water. These sustainable features earned the project two platinum and one gold BEAM Plus awards.
The port also contains other associated infrastructure and auxiliary facilities, such as:
- Cargo clearance facilities
- Road network
- Transit interchange
- Traffic control surveillance system
- Accommodations for frontline departments such as Immigration and Customs and Excise
AECOM provided planning, investigation, detailed design, contract administration, site supervision and construction management for this project.
Awards and Recognition:
- HKIE Grand Award 2023 – Grand Prize (Infrastructure Category)
- Hong Kong Green Building Council BEAM Plus Award 2020 – Platinum
- The Lighthouse Club Safety Leadership Awards 2016 – Gold (Architect-Consultant Category)